First Street parking
November 8, 2023
The Problem: Vehicles parking on First Street for extended periods of time during high tourist traffic periods.
Who are the primary offenders?
Business owners and employees. First Street residents. Hotel guests. (All of whom should be parking off First Street during business hours.)
Simplest solution: Two hour parking limit, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and April thru September only.
Why not paid parking?
1) Parking is a minimal problem October thru March
2) Pay kiosks would be detrimental to First Street’s historic character.
3) It would discourage local customers from visiting downtown.
4) It would encourage longer parking on First Street rather than using the pay parking lot.
La Conner is unique in that we have been able to maintain our small town historic ambiance. We are not a Leavenworth. Nor are we a Bellingham. Langley and Winthrop are more comparable to La Conner. Langley uses time limits for parking in downtown. Winthrop is all free, no limit parking. Both towns have ample off street parking, as does La Conner.
We just need to give people a nudge to use it. A two-hour parking limit just might be the needed nudge.
A two-hour parking limit does not have to be expensive to enforce. We do not need an enforcement officer walking the street chalking tires. Just a couple signs each way on First Street would be enough to discourage most offenders and encourage their use of the parking lot.
This issue was thrashed about several times back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Both paid parking and a two-hour limit were considered. No consensus was ever achieved, so nothing was done. Nevertheless, La Conner has survived and thrived. Perhaps we should just leave things as they are?